Pope John Paul II: A Vibrant Leader and Vital Partner

Newt Gingrich
To see Pope John Paul II in his physically frail state today, it’s hard to imagine that this man stared down an evil empire and won. Yet this peaceful warrior, a true revolutionary empowered by his faith, purposefully and defiantly set out to defeat communism. History will record that the pope, in conjunction with his anti-communist allies Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, engineered the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Karol Wojtyla began his priestly vocation by putting his very life at risk to study in secret in a seminary in Nazi occupied Poland. Confirmed as the 263rd pope during the turbulent years after Vatican II, he brought this courage to the Catholic Church in a renewed commitment to democracy and freedom. And in his first homily as pope he struck a theme that he carried back to Poland to confront communism — be not afraid.

Today his courageous witness as pope remains a beacon of hope, not just for Catholics, but for freedom-loving peoples worldwide.

This Sunday I host FOX News Channel's special, "Pope John Paul II: Pope of the People." Watch as we explore the pontiff's enormous spiritual and political impact on our world, including his strong support of the anti-Communist labor leaders in Poland, his vital partnership with President Reagan that led to the Reagan-Gorbachev meetings and the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Treaty, and his outreach to those of Jewish faith.

In addition, it will examine the pope's global political impact and his relationship with world leaders, in particular the American presidents. The hour-long special will also feature interviews with those who knew him personally and explore how, even at his most frail, he continues to send a message of strength and unity to the world.

As millions of Catholics around the world celebrate Easter Sunday with the pope, don't miss FOX News Channel's special, "Pope John Paul II: Pope of the People," Sunday, March 27 at 9 p.m. / 12 midnight ET.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is a political contributor for the FOX News Channel. In this role he contributes to the network’s election and political coverage and offers analysis on domestic and international news events. Gingrich joined the network in 1999, marking his first television deal since leaving Congress. Gingrich served as the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999 and was a member of Congress for 20 years, representing the state of Georgia. During his tenure, Gingrich was known as the chief architect of the "Republican Contract with America" and a key player in the Republican Party’s regaining control of Congress after 40 years. He also championed the passing of important welfare reform legislation, the first balanced budget in 10 years and the first tax cuts in 16 years. In 1995, Time magazine named Gingrich "Man of the Year.” Currently, Gingrich is the CEO of The Gingrich Group, an Atlanta-based communications and management-consulting firm. He is also a member of the senior advisory board of the secretary of defense’s National Security Study Group and a board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Additionally, Gingrich serves as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institution and a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. In 1998, the Georgia Wildlife Federation named him Legislative Conservationist of the Year. Gingrich is the author of "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America" and numerous critically acclaimed and best-selling books, including "Contract with America" and "To Renew America."

Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich. His latest book is "Understanding Trump."